While the Turks are renowned for their shakshuka, I would argue that Güveç, its lesser known cousin, deserves all of the recognition that shakshuka gets, if not more. Or at least @mavirestaurant.sg rendition ($32++) does deserve that fame. A stew of chicken, bell peppers and other veg baked in a tantalising tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese, the Güveç is as every bit as hearty as it sounds.

Mavi’s Güveç is portioned into a claypot and baked till ready in a stone oven, which does require quite a fair bit of time to achieve. But when it’s ready, oh boy oh boy is it a thing of beauty. The tasty, tangy tomato sauce bubbles away gently under the beautiful blanket of browned cheese which also conceals the bell peppers & chicken stewing within the sauce. The chicken is only slightly salted, so it’s entirely up to the tomato sauce to carry the entire dish. Or in this case, claypot.

Fortunately, the tomato sauce is a bonafide MVP, carrying & flavouring this entire stew with its charming combo of Turkish spices, tanginess & umami. The paprika provides a nice hint of heat to the simmering stew, while the cumin adds its strong, unmistakable earthy, nutty & warming qualities to add a new dimension to the Güveç. Added to the sweet, sour & salty characteristics of the tomato sauce, the herbs & spices round out the flavours well and make it a truly robust stew.

Unlike the kebabs, the chicken chunks in the stew were simmered to perfection. The chook was juicy & tender, and had soaked up a great deal of flavour from the terrific tomato sauce. The bell peppers had been stewed thoroughly, becoming soft and losing their sharpness in the process. And to top it all off, the melted cheese adds that luxurious richness to the entire stew. While the Güveç is perfect with the butter rice on the side, there is a dish that is purpose built to pair with this stew.

Thank you for hosting us, @mavirestaurant.sg & @burpple!

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